Shedding hair is a natural process that you can't stop; it's genetically predetermined.
All hair has three growth phases:
1. Anagen phase: hair growth
Can last 1 to 10 years, but is 4 to 7 year on average. According to The Science of Black Hair, 88% of the hairs on your head are in the anagen (growth) phase at any one time.
2. Catagen phase: hair resting
Lasts anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months; 1% of the hairs on your head are currently in the catagen (resting) phase.
3. Telogen phase: hair shedding
11% of the hairs on your head are currently in the telogen (shedding) phase. These hairs either come our on their own or are pulled out during styling. If you have braids or dreadlocks the shed hairs don't fall out because they are restricted from doing so.
This is actually one of the reasons locs can appear to be thicker than normall hair, shed hair remains matted to the loc and cannot escape.
Shedding is different to breakage. Broken hair does't usually come out from the root it is broken off at an intermediate point due to stress, styling and other hair handling.
How can you tell if the hair in your hand is shed or broken?
A shed hair has a white/grey bulb at the end of it. Why is this? Because hair in the catagen phase doesn't produce hair color or melanin.
A shed hair will also tend to be much longer than a broken hair because it detaches itself straight from the scalp.
How many hairs should you shed in a day under normal circumstances?
Most say 50 to 100 hair per day; others say up to 200 hairs is normal.